“The sequence of orientation-disorientation-reorientation is a helpful way to understand the use and function of the Psalms. Very likely, the overview suggested here has been intentional in the practice of many believing people, even though they have not recognized or articulated it in this way…The movement of life, if we are attentive, is the movement of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation. And in our daily pilgrimage, we use much of our energy for this work…
Sing a New Song: The Difference Between First Naivete and Second Naivete
October 7, 2015 by Nick Nowalk
[Thus there is] a difference between the second naivete and the first. The first naivete is the precritical. It believes everything, indeed too much. It is an enjoyment of well-being, but unaware of oppression and incongruity. It is a glad reception of community, but unaware of hurt. It can afford to be uncritical because everything makes sense. But growth–and indeed life–means moving to criticism: a new awareness of self in conflict, of others in dishonest interestedness, of God in enmity. The critical dimension of our pilgrimage discovers, with Marx, the slippage between appearance and reality in our social arrangements, slippage poorly covered by ideology. And it discovers, with Freud, the censorship that we exercise and that is exercised upon us.
But the second naivete is postcritical, not precritical. The second naivete has been through the pit and is now prepared to ‘hope all things’ (1 Cor. 13:7). But now hope is after the pit. It now knows that finally things have been reduced and need be reduced no more. It knows that our experience is demystified as it must be. But it knows that even in a world demystified and reduced, grace intrudes and God makes all things new. The ones who give thanks and sing genuinely new songs must be naive or they would not bother to sing songs and to give thanks. But it is a praise in which the anguish of disorientation is not forgotten, removed, or absent…
The song celebrative of reorientation is a movement out of the disorientation marked by lament…The song of celebration is a new song sung at the appearance of a new reality, new creation, new harmony, new reliability (Pss. 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa. 42:10; Rev. 14:3). Its style and rhetoric must speak of the quality of surprise and newness that are appropriate to such new reality…It is the experience that the world has a new coherence, that the devastating hopelessness of the lament is not finally appropriate for the way life is.” (Walter Brueggemann, “Psalms and the Life of Faith: A Suggested Typology of Function”)